Diversity Hiring: How to Create an Inclusive Workplace
In today’s rapidly evolving corporate landscape, the demand for diversity in the workplace has reached unprecedented heights. A 2021 study found that nearly 80% of employees prefer a company that values diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Those satisfied with their company’s DEI issues are happier with their jobs and are more likely to say they have good career advancement opportunities.
These findings show that diversity hiring is indispensable to any well-rounded recruitment strategy. Many companies now see it as a way to foster innovation, enhance employee engagement, and boost productivity, raising their problem-solving capabilities and competitive advantage.
This infographic discusses the importance of workplace diversity and the multifaceted advantages it brings to your organization and employees.
Workplace Diversity Statistics
Focusing on workplace diversity can be challenging, especially if you don’t know the current problems many employees face and their perception of the current job market. Here are some statistics to help you better understand the state of diversity in the workplace.
- As of 2021, theU.S. workforce comprises the following:
- Whites – 77%
- Blacks – 13%
- Asians – 7%
- Mixed Races – 2%
- American Indians and Alaska Natives – 1%
- Of every 100 men promoted to manager positions, only 87 women and 82 women of color receive the same opportunities.
- Only 25% of LGBT+ employees believe their organization always treats them fairly, while only 17% feel their employers care about their well-being.
- The number of employed persons with a disability (PWD) has increased from 19.1% in 2021 to 21.3% in 2022. However, PWDs across all age groups still have lower employment rates than those without disabilities.
- In some cases, seniority has a stronger correlation with workplace inclusion than personal background traits, with 92% of senior staff reporting feeling included and their workplace valuing diversity, in contrast to 76% of lower-level employees.
- Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, 66% of employees saw an increased focus and action on diversity and inclusion in their workplaces. Another 66% indicated their expectations of employers to promote diversity and inclusion have risen due to the crisis.
Why Hire Diverse Talent?
Embracing a diverse and inclusive workplace goes beyond mere representation. It brings many benefits that can positively affect every aspect of your business. Here are compelling reasons you should actively seek to hire diverse talent.
1. Attract a wider talent pool
Hiring diverse talent allows you to expand your talent pool and tap into broader skills, perspectives, and experiences. This expansion can help you gain unique and fresh ideas for different aspects of your organization.
Let’s say you want to expand to Southeast Asia. Hiring employees with knowledge of the region or who grew up in Southeast Asian culture can help you personalize your offerings based on your new market’s specific needs and preferences. They can also enable effective communication with potential customers, business partners, and authorities, enabling smoother market entry.
Moreover, diversity hiring gives you a competitive edge in the job market, allowing you to fill vacancies faster than other companies. That’s because job seekers from all backgrounds prefer an employer that genuinely values their identities and well-being over those that don’t.
2. Promote innovation and creativity
Diversity fosters an environment where varying perspectives intersect, leading to increased innovation and creativity. As individuals from diverse backgrounds combine approaches and problem-solving strategies, more innovative solutions and out-of-the-box thinking arise.
For instance, if you’re a technology company creating a finance management mobile app, employees from different age groups can suggest features or design elements that resonate strongly with a specific target market. Older workers may want straightforward UX copy, while colorful and gamified features appeal better to younger demographics.
3. Boost employee retention
An inclusive workplace creates a sense of belonging and respect for all employees. Employees who feel valued and included are more likely to be engaged and committed to your organization, resulting in higher employee retention rates and reduced turnover.
Besides retaining quality talent, workplace diversity efforts reduce costs. Most companies spend $2,000 to $20,000 to hire a new employee, excluding salary and benefits. Given the economic benefits of diversity hiring, you can fund other business improvement efforts, such as expanding or improving your offerings and boosting your marketing campaigns.
4. Improve brand image
Prioritizing diversity and inclusion can send a powerful message to your customers, partners, and community. For one, you can show how progressive and socially conscious your organization is. Employees who feel appreciated and respected become brand advocates willing to share their positive experiences. Plus, they proudly associate themselves with a diverse and inclusive employer.
As employee advocacy in your organization grows, you can attract more quality, diverse talents while growing your business further. Your customers will likely support you more and may even amplify your diversity and inclusion efforts.
5. Increase bottom line
Diversity hiring can also affect financial performance. Diverse teams and leadership bring different perspectives to decision-making, leading to more robust and effective strategies. As a result, you can drive business growth, increase productivity, and ultimately contribute to a healthier bottom line.
A 2022 study revealed that companies with smaller disparities in diversity between the overall employee base and the management team exhibited stronger financial performance, while those with larger gaps underperformed financially. Research from the previous decade also proved that diverse groups usually deliver better results and make good decisions.
7 Diversity Hiring Practices to Follow
Hiring diverse talent is more than just giving people from all backgrounds a chance to showcase their skills and work experience beyond their personal traits. Here are some diversity hiring practices to implement in your organization.
1. Use diverse recruitment platforms
Various recruitment platforms enable you to pool specific or underrepresented groups. For instance, you can join social media groups for women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) or partner with organizations catering to the same community to widen your search.
You can also join job fairs or hold seminars in universities to attract interns and fresh graduates. The key is to cover all your bases by sourcing candidates online and offline.
2. Use inclusive language in job ads
Your job ads can influence how job seekers perceive you. Use gender-neutral terms, avoid biased language, and emphasize your commitment to workplace diversity to convey your openness to candidates from diverse backgrounds.
One way to show diversity and inclusivity is substituting gender-specific pronouns like “he” or “she” with gender-neutral terms such as “you” or “they.” You can also replace gender-specific titles like “salesman” and “saleswoman” with inclusive alternatives like “salesperson.”
Moreover, refrain from using discriminatory or offensive terms and instead opt for inclusive language, such as “person with a disability” instead of focusing on the disability and “fluent in English” instead of “Native English speaker.”
3. Reduce unconscious bias in the hiring process
Unfortunately, some recruiters or hiring managers have personal prejudices toward specific groups that may affect their decisions. To prevent unconscious bias in your organization, conduct structured interviews, make standardized evaluation criteria, and gather diverse interview panels.
For instance, some unbiased interview questions you can ask any candidate can include:
- Can you provide an example of a project you worked on that demonstrates your problem-solving skills and approach to solving a complex problem?
- Share an example of when you had to manage multiple priorities and deadlines simultaneously. How did you prioritize tasks and ensure timely completion?
- Describe when you had to think creatively to solve a work-related problem or challenge.
- If you made a mistake that went unnoticed by others, would you choose to address it and potentially delay progress, or would you ignore it to keep the project or task moving forward?
- Can you discuss a specific accomplishment or achievement you’re proud of in your career? What steps did you take to achieve this success?
These questions focus on skills, experiences, and qualifications rather than personal characteristics. Training recruiters and hiring managers on unconscious bias awareness can ensure fair and equitable evaluations.
4. Offer internships to targeted groups
Thirty-five percent of job postings for “entry-level” positions require relevant work experience. However, getting hired for these posts can be difficult for people in ethnic minority groups or those living far from major cities.
Internships are crucial in this scenario. As an inclusive employer, you could provide internships or entry-level opportunities to individuals from underrepresented groups to bridge the gap and create pathways for diverse talent. For instance, you can screen candidates from low-income backgrounds or marginalized communities with limited professional opportunities.
You can also partner with LGBT+ organizations to ensure queer individuals gain professional growth since 46% have experienced workplace discrimination in their careers.
5. Incorporate blind hiring practices
Blind hiring removes identifying information—names, gender, or educational institutions—from resumes or applications during initial screenings. This approach can help you focus solely on the qualifications and skills of candidates, minimizing the impact of unconscious bias and fostering a more diverse selection process.
Consider providing skills assessment tests to ensure you evaluate candidates based on their capabilities. For instance, you can give a cognitive abilities test to measure a candidate’s critical thinking, problem-solving, and logical reasoning skills. You can also provide a sales skills assessment to check a candidate’s negotiation and persuasive communication aptitude.
6. Implement anti-discrimination policies
Establish and enforce clear anti-discrimination policies prohibiting bias based on race, gender, age, or disability. It helps to create an equal employment opportunity (EEO) policy stating your commitment to employ individuals regardless of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age, or other legally protected characteristics.
Your EEO policy should include how you’ll fairly provide equal opportunities to potential and current employees and how you’ll deal with harassment cases.
7. Provide diversity training for everyone
Diversity and inclusion training for all employees can enhance awareness, sensitivity, and cultural competence. It can also foster a more inclusive work environment where everyone understands and respects different perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences. However, providing it isn’t as simple as it sounds.
First, set realistic goals to keep your employees on track. You should also conduct a series of workshops instead of a one-off training session since unlearning prejudices and biases can be a lengthy and challenging initiative.
Additionally, create affirmative action plans and diversity task forces to ensure your employees consistently apply what they’ve learned while reinforcing your commitment to workplace diversity.
Embrace Workplace Diversity and Inclusion Today
Fostering workplace diversity is the key to success in today’s dynamic business landscape. Remember that a diverse and inclusive workplace starts with inclusive hiring practices. Use the tips above to modify your processes and create a safe environment for employees of all backgrounds.
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